According to the American Psychological Association, women and girls are depicted in a sexual manner in “virtually every medium” including prime time television shows, commercials and magazines. A study carried out by Wesleyan University found that women featured in advertising campaigns, especially in men’s magazines, were presented as sex objects 76 percent of the time.
Several experts believe this routine sexualisation of women can have devastating consequences. The UN children’s agency said in a report that there was a direct link between the objectification of women in the media and gender-based violence.
“When women and girls are repeatedly objectified and their bodies hypersexualised, the media contributes to harmful gender stereotypes that often trivialise violence against girls,” the report said.
According to the UN, such depictions of women and girls can also increase anxiety about appearance, provoke feelings of shame and lead to eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression.
The release of a New York Times documentary about pop star Britney Spears has prompted several media outlets to frankly examine their own roles in the singer’s subsequent mental health issues. Glamour Magazine even issued an apology for any part it may have played.
In this episode of The Stream, we’ll ask why the media treats women this way and look at what the broader impacts are for women’s health and safety.
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